15 Feb Gourmet Getaway in the Poconos
Growing up in New Jersey I thought the Poconos was synonymous with honeymoons that featured heart shaped tubs and the haunting jingle of the Mt Airy Lodge commercials. So if you are looking for a romantic weekend getaway full of gourmet food, world class wine and pampering this might not be on the top of your list. Turns out that all this has changed and the Poconos have gone upscale.
One key player to this transformation is the Hotel Fauchère in downtown Milford, PA. Founded in 1852 by Louis Fauchère, master chef of Delmonico’s in New York City this hotel has seen legendary guests such as former presidents John F Kennedy Jr. Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt as well as celebrities like Mae West, Charlie Chaplin and Babe Ruth. The Hotel Fauchère also attracted notable writers Zane Grey, Thomas Wolfe, Robert Frost and Ogden Nash.
The hotel’s current glory including inclusion in the Relais & Châteaux association is due to the meticulous restoration by partners Sean Strub and Richard Snyder. The renovation took five years with a focus on restoring the hotel while adding luxurious modern conveniences. There are 16 guest rooms at the hotel that are complete with Frette Italian linens, heated towel racks and bathroom floors, marble bathrooms, flat screen televisions and complementary gourmet snack baskets. Rooms range from $275-$350 and include breakfast, wireless internet and parking. The hotel recently added a day spa called Badea & Soul where you can relax with services like massages, facials and body scrubs.
Dining at the Hotel Fauchère is a culinary delight with two options, the casual Bar Louis downstairs or the upscale Delmonico room upstairs. The simple clean design of Bar Louis is lit up by the legendary photo of Andy Warhol and John Lennon behind the bar. The wines list is thoughtful and interesting with options for tasting portions, by the glass or by the bottle and the menu has smart dishes like Pumpkin & Fresh Peanut Risotto or Stuffed Boston Mackerel along with the chef’s signature sushi pizza, which is definitely worth ordering. My favorite pairing during my visit to Bar Louis was a half dozen freshly shucked oysters with a glass of crisp Spanish Albariño.
Upstairs the Delmonico room there is a six course prix fixe menu that leverages Chef Christopher Bates creative talents and the bounty of their nearby Foster Hill Farm. When possible, dishes feature a “farm to table” focus using local produce, fish and game from their farm and other local vendors. The Delmonico wine list is overseen by Sommelier Jacob Kiel with a collection of wines that also includes a value section of special wines that are $35 or under per bottle. The under $35 list has a great mix of the usual suspects like California Chardonnay or Cabernet mixed with some more unusual wines like a white blend from Sicily and a red Garnacha from Spain. Diners looking for more prestige bottles to celebrate a special occasion will not be disappointed either with selections like classified growth Bordeaux, Premier Cru Burgundy and even Tokaji Aszu by the glass for dessert.
In the morning the Delmonico room serves the continental breakfast that all guests are welcome to as well as an ala carte menu that includes an upscale egg sandwich called B.E.A.T. that includes bacon, eggs, arugula and tomato.
If you are looking for things to do in Milford, you won’t have to go far. The town has a fabulous collection of antique shops, art galleries, an Italian food market and the Columns Museum that is home to the blood stained flag that was placed under Lincoln’s head in Gettysburg.
Just a short drive away you can tour Grey Towers the mansion designed for Gifford Pinchot, the first chief of the U.S. Forest Service and two-time governor of Pennsylvania. Pinchot is noted with begin one of the founding fathers of the conservation movement and his grand estate features the Finger Bowl, an outdoor dining table where food would float to guests in bowls surrounded by the meticulously groomed gardens. In the summer there are special outdoor events like concerts and ice cream socials similar to the events Pinchot created for local residents in the early 1930’s.
The Delaware River, ski slopes and many other resorts are just a short drive from Milford, offering much more to do than you can accomplish in a weekend.
Then again if you just want to get away from the rat race of everyday life, there is no reason you need to leave the Hotel Fauchère.